The Kennedy Center Announces 46th Class of Honorees
Among this year’s five honorees include soprano Renée Fleming and singer-songwriter Barry Gibb
Awarded annually since 1978, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (Kennedy Center) Honors recognizes significant lifetime achievements in the arts.
This year’s awardees are actor and comedian Billy Crystal; soprano Renée Fleming; British singer-songwriter, producer, and Bee Gees member Barry Gibb; rapper, singer, and actress Queen Latifah; and singer Dionne Warwick.
Crystal has been the centerpiece for myriad comedic Hollywood scenes across the last 50 years; Gibb, along with his late brothers Robin and Maurice, drew prominence in the 1960s, defining the modern dance era “with their trademark falsetto sound and groove style, becoming a pop superstar group for the ages,” commented Kennedy Center chairman David M. Rubenstein in the press release.
A five-time GRAMMY Award-winner, Fleming has brought opera into the mainstream for more than 40 years, plus has given over 25 Kennedy Center performances; known as the ‘First Lady of Hip Hop,’ Latifah helped shape the genre, representing black women everywhere; Warwick created several hits that have inspired countless artists worldwide.
The winners were awarded on December 3, 2023, in a ceremony hosted by a former Kennedy Center Honoree Gloria Estefan, featuring performances from internationally renowned artists. The event aired on the CBS Television Network and is available for streaming on Paramount+.
The Honoree selection process included recommendations from former Honorees, other artists, the Kennedy Center board of trustees, and the public. The 2023 awardees were also selected based on the recommendation of the Center’s Special Honors Advisory Committee.
“How thrilling to join the company of legendary artists who have received this recognition…Music has defined the arc of my life, giving voice to an introverted child, taking me to places I never dreamed of visiting and people I never dreamed of meeting,” said Fleming. “Most of all, it has shown me the enormous potential for healing and joy that the arts offer everyone. Having looked with awe at the Honorees in that box at the Kennedy Center Opera House, I’m incredibly grateful to think I will be among them.”
“This year’s slate represents an extraordinary mix of individuals who have redefined their art forms and demonstrated remarkable tenacity and authenticity in becoming an original,” added Kennedy Center president Deborah F. Rutter. “Each of them has explored new terrain, stretched artistic boundaries, and most importantly, committed to sharing their gifts with the world.”